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Title: Characterizing Extreme Emission-line Galaxies. I. A Four-zone Ionization Model for Very High-ionization Emission*
Abstract Stellar population models produce radiation fields that ionize oxygen up to O +2 , defining the limit of standard H ii region models (<54.9 eV). Yet, some extreme emission-line galaxies, or EELGs, have surprisingly strong emission originating from much higher ionization potentials. We present UV HST/COS and optical LBT/MODS spectra of two nearby EELGs that have very high-ionization emission lines (e.g., He ii λλ 1640,4686 C iv λλ 1548,1550, [Fe v ] λ 4227, [Ar iv ] λλ 4711,4740). We define a four-zone ionization model that is augmented by a very high-ionization zone, as characterized by He +2 (>54.4 eV). The four-zone model has little to no effect on the measured total nebular abundances, but does change the interpretation of other EELG properties: we measure steeper central ionization gradients; higher volume-averaged ionization parameters; and higher central T e , n e , and log U values. Traditional three-zone estimates of the ionization parameter can underestimate the average log U by up to 0.5 dex. Additionally, we find a model-independent dichotomy in the abundance patterns, where the α /H abundances are consistent but N/H, C/H, and Fe/H are relatively deficient, suggesting these EELGs are α /Fe-enriched by more than three more » times. However, there still is a high-energy ionizing photon production problem (HEIP 3 ). Even for such α /Fe enrichment and very high log U s, photoionization models cannot reproduce the very high-ionization emission lines observed in EELGs. « less
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The Astrophysical Journal
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National Science Foundation
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